Dancing With the Stars is the highest-rated show on television this season, drawing more viewers than the NFL right now. That isn’t easy to do, as viewers have always tuned in to make Monday Night Football a smash success, and NBC found even more viewers for their Sunday Night Football presentation. Now, though, it seems that viewers are more intent on watching reality television, opting to watch Dancing With the Stars in droves again. Those complaining that the celebrities aren’t really celebrities this year are going to lose their argument to the sheer number of viewers.
During the second week of the television season, when nearly all shows on television had already premiered, the performance show brought in 21.3 million viewers. That was good enough for No. 1 in the latest Nielsen ratings, which estimate what people are watching based on a group of paid viewers. The second-most-watched show was NBC’s Sunday Night Football with 20.9 million. The difference between the two programs seems negligible, but it is the second straight week that DWTS outperformed the Sunday Night Football edition. These are numbers that keep ABC continuously higher ranked than NBC.
The gap was definitely closed a bit last week, as during the week ending on Sept. 26, DWTS had 21.29 million viewers and NBC’s Sunday Night Football had just 18.1 million for fourth place. The other shows battling in those top four slots are NCIS, which is averaging 19.3 million viewers, and the Dancing With the Stars Results Show, which is bringing in 17.9 million viewers. The No. 5 show out there right now is NCIS: Los Angeles with about 16 million viewers. This makes it very clear that not only are viewers enjoying the performance episodes of the show on Monday night, but they aren’t turning out nearly as often to watch the Tuesday night results shows.
When season 11 of Dancing With the Stars was announced, there was an immediate backlash that cast members like Bristol Palin and Audrina Patridge didn’t really have a place on the list of “real stars.” Here they are, though, three weeks into the new season, and someone out there is voting for them to stay on the show. It’s seems like viewers, most notably the higher age demographics, are more interested in seeing the dancers than the big-name celebrities come on the show. This is exactly what producers want to hear, because it helps them keep costs down while the money for commercials rolls in.